Sunday, April 26, 2009

Some thoughts on Education System

Being an Indian from grounds and having interest in Education , I learned that no hi-fi teachers are required in education system. Student can/should learn by them self. which is the best way. Only small pointer is required for learning. Syllabus and tutorials are good pointers. Teacher is required just for small guidance. We are now living in the era of networked Internet and wikipedia type collaboration tools. Now students should start understand the power of "viral ,globally shared and collaborative learning". If students are feeling something is needed then they can work locally to make that possible,,and not waiting for teacher or policy to correct them, (for example a Linux repo in IIT Delhi came in 2007, just because student tried their effort at 2007 with all odds)
we cannot just blame education system infrastructure and teacher,,,,, there just need of pointer,

If there is a need to improve education system, it lies at the school (class 1st to 8th), As they learn "rattafication" there and they never get taste in education and learning.
please revisit the terms -- viral, globally shared and collaborative learning. It is better if you have internet connectivity, but if you do not have internet connectivity the same thing can be done in group and shared way of learning. We started LUG workshop just to test how and upto what level we can collaborate and how we can more productive using this.

If you say, you do not have good teacher, I should say u are not a good student. I expressed my primarily concerns on school children. The "base" of a school child is not well, If he/she need tuition's at 1st class then he/she will need forever. I am saying just study by yourself. I am saying,, do not depends on teacher. Depends on you and collaborative group study locally. Collaboration is one of primary ethics of study.
We need to build up a strong base level foundation in students.
After an unsuccessful attempt of IIT-JEE, I remembered in college days when I was in first year, I started teaching (as tutor) for 11th and 12th class. But every student in my district use to run away from the first class of vector algebra. The guy who just passed 10th somehow do not know basic of algebra and equations, How can I teach such guys. In the whole district I was able to find just 2 guys who can study at the IIT level under me. The most important thing we need to develop the ideals in the mind of student that they should learn first and give the exam, otherwise getting 35 marks and study ahead is just waste. A person who is weak in math at 10th will not be able to cover math in 11th and 12th. So we need to focus on learning rather then timely passing.

When I learned height and distance in lower class, I tried to measure actual height of buildings. Do students have such practical thinking in his mind? Do you need teacher to give you assignments and then u will think for practicals ?
You can make microscope in less then 20 RS and everything is in book. Have u tried ???
You may surprised to know, once I rejected to give my exam paper in BE , just because it was a important subject in GATE exam and I have not done its study well ! Will we ever be able to develops such ideal in little minds.

Let me again come to schools. Now a days the horrible danger came in middle class society --- English Convent School. everywhere we can see such schools and teacher at such schools are paid just less then 1000 rs per month. Atlest in our time when the text books was in hindi we can atleast understand that what goes on the pages of books and what in written and their meaning. My bhanja (son of sister) Harshit is 9 year old and he is a part of good convent school. last month when I visited him, my sister was forcing him to study and was trying the "rattafication" of some sentences. Those sentence were marked by school teacher and paper will come from these marked sentences. he was again and again repeating - "The earth revolves around the sun" but he do not know the actual meaning of that sentences. It is not just a story of Harshit, this happens with all children and all subjects.

The worst part I observed in students is they are lazy to correct the system. Students are part of education, my dear if you blame and thing something to be included then go ahead and try to make a change what you like, last time i gave a example of LUG repo at IITD. We thought and we worked and now everybody know what is 10,10.4.1/linux and articles. If you think there is not a good library in ur city at your time of education then -- donate your books or after getting good salary donate 10,000 Rs to your village/city. 100 such donations can make a good library.
if you think u do not have good books then write it or give feedback to publishers.
If you think you have solved some problem differently then just blog it or share it in some electronic media. I have so many math/physics tricks in mind but mostly they are waste because I cannot share it as i am no longer a tutor now but still I try to write articles on my blogs-- for example , I somehow know proof of mechanics equations in vector form, I have not found these proof on Internet , so i just wrote them here -- If u see from my point of view then it is just a waste of time, Why should one waste time to blog/share. The answer is , Think globally. Think it as ecosystem. If everybody share so learning will be more effective and fact.

I want to conclude that -- Do no just blame on teacher,,think there are zero teacher in India.

First be good student and have studentship with education ethics in your pocket. At the same time just do not pass from one class to other class somehow without learning. or in other words, There is no place for shortcuts in education system , you need to "love to learn".

Let our children explore better this world by good books. The school age is the foundation age so i was strongly suggested for its improvement. Only at school age teacher are needed to make them good human being and student. coursework they can learn by themself too. As far as motivation is required, books are best thing. Ask child to read about great persons. This is motivate them through out the life. Ask child to watch good TV programs like NetGeo junior etc. I remember when we was child we use to watch CIET Tarang , Turning Point, Surbhi, etc. I use to watch Prof Yashpal at that time. Those days on DD1 and DD2 are available. It is difficult to measure that how TV and books can play role in our life. but the truth is , when we are child, these TV, books and social culture make a solid and hidden impact on subconscious mind. as i can say - I am what i have seen. our child age define our "base class", whole life is derived class of it. So Ishan, this is the way how you can give motivation and thought process.

I agree that if there is a good teacher then student will learn a lot but the problem is that , ratio of teacher to students is highly unequal. and this ration will never become proper. so only solution depends on students itself. which is what I have shown in last post.which is very obvious path of collaborative self learning. Self learning theory was mainly for grown up student but I can give example that a small child at age 9 also very craetive. Let me put Bhanja Story again. [these are real stories of my life]

1st instance, Hemant , just 10 year old boy can play mobile very well and he use to change language and many things. My father is a govt teacher and 50 year old do not know how to operate mobile properly. This happens with all child, they can very good at self learning. this may them very happy. Hemant and Hansa (6 year old) , use to record audio and playback later for fun and dance. The knowlede the Hemant automatically shared to Hansa also.
conclusion :
children are very creative and believe on collaborative learning too. and they can very well self learn too.

2nd instance. I have installed fedora 8 on my home PC. Harshit only use to play games. I cannot download games due to low bandwidth, so I shown him how to google search for 'flash games'. After 2-3 days not only he can start the desktop at his own, but he was able to google search many new terms and play game by himself. Many time he use to put "Cartoon Network" characters names to pic and videos. In search result he automatically discovered youtube and also watch cartoon by himself. One day I found very strange thing, the desktop background was changed. I never shown his how to do this but his has changed the desktop background and I was very surprised.
conclusion : children are very creative


Yugandhar Veeramachaneni said...

Hello Narendra,

You are 100% corrct.. These days either the student or the teacher doesn't know what true learning actually means to life !!! Value for Practical Learning and Application Oriented Thinking is drastically falling and students even don't know what these terms mean..!

I have never ever read a post like this, that reflects our true society written in such a nice manner !

Thanks for the Post

Yugandhar Veeramachaneni

Zafar Satyavan said...

Very well put, Narendra!! I wonder if it has something to do with our tradition of respecting the elders. There is a BIG shift from the 1980 - 90 onward. Senior people cannot really jump into the web world as they are intimidated by technology.